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Slaughter High
(1986)
 

Director: George Dugdale       
Cast:
Caroline Munroe, Simon Scuddamore,


Not the worst, but a routine, predictable slasher movie, maybe more tired and predictable than usual for this unspectacular genre. Every effort seems to have been made by everyone in the production to give the least amount of effort.

That's not to say that there isn't anything interesting in this rehash, but that is mostly of the unintentional kind. The first interesting thing comes in the first few minutes, where on April Fool's Day at Doddsville County High School, a snobbish clique of teenagers (played by actors who haven't been teens for many years) play a quite nasty joke on nerdy Marty (Scuddamore), fooling him into taking his clothes off in the ladies' room, photographing him nude and picking him up and dunking him repeatedly in a toilet. The interesting thing isn't the actors' ages, their sadistic behavior, or the fact that in one scene you can see the "nude" Marty wearing his underwear. No, it quickly becomes apparent that this movie is a British production when the viewer keeps looking at the clothes, the architecture of the school, and the fact that British accents keep slipping out. Though all of this gives the movie a strange surreal feel, it also makes the movie look more pathetic and phony than if it was made in America.

The gym coach walks in and saves Marty. Does he send the clique to the principal? Does he call their parents? No, he decided that the clique will have to.....stay after school and do push-ups! After the coach leaves, one of the gang states, "It's all Marty's fault!" (huh?) and they decide to go after Marty again. They give Marty a doctored joint (a drugged drug?), and through contrived circumstances too inane to report, Marty's smoking of it leads to him being burned by fire and his face splashed with the contents of a bottle with "NITRIC ACID" written with big letters on it. Wait a minute - isn't nitric acid HNO3, a.k.a. "spit"? Anyway, the incident leaves Marty badly injured and the teen wondering if they went too far.

Several years later, now looking their age, the clique gets invitations for an evening high school reunion at the now soon-to-be-demolished high school. Finding their way into the locked-up school, they find a room with a welcome banner and refreshments. Babbling inanities, they finally figure out something is suspicious when the contents of a can of beer cause the intestines of one of the clique to burst out of his stomach. They attempt to get out, but discover that all exits out of the school are locked or blocked. Meanwhile, a shadowy figure with a jester's mask creeps down the halls. Is it Marty? Bob Dylan? Someone else? The clique decides, like other targets in slasher movies, to stupidly separate and go to different parts of the school to find an exit, giving the jester numerous possibilities to knock them off one by one.

When a slasher flick involves revenge, the convention is to have one sympathetic character of the group so that the viewer will have someone to root for and maybe identify with. But all the characters are so dumb, so obnoxious, that we are glad to see them knocked off. Not that the slashing or the gore is any spectacular - although the makeup (little that there is) is acceptable, the killings themselves lack tension and shock. Are we supposed to be shocked when a character gets dissolved in acid when she makes the stupid decision to take a bath during the crisis? The scene does get an unintentional chuckle (she wears panties in the bath), but the viewer will mostly be impatiently waiting for the scene to end.

Technical credits are poor as well, with some scenes so dark I had to turn off the lights to see what was going on. And the print looks like it was placed in the sun for a while. As I mentioned before, the movie seems to have been made with the least effort possible, so why should viewers make any kind of effort to get involved. It's not original, it's not even amusing, and it's not scary.

Well, actually there is one little thing creepy about the movie. Shortly after the movie was completed, Scuddamore committed suicide. With the knowledge of this, watching the opening when his character is viciously tormented can't help but make you wonder if acting out this torment somehow contributed to Scuddamore's final act.

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See also: Madman, Rituals, Voodoo

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